Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Interview with Brian Staveley, author of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: The Providence of Fire and The Emperor's Blades - January 14, 2015

Please welcome Brian Staveley to The Qwillery as part of The Providence of Fire Blog Tour. The Providence of Fire was published on January 13th by Tor Books.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery! Please tell us something about your newest novel, The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 2), that we won't find in the book description.

Brian:  There’s a new point-of-view character, a fourth perspective beyond the three siblings of The Emperor’s Blades. This character is someone readers will know from the first book, but in this volume she gets five of her own chapters. It’s great fun opening up a new POV – each character’s mind is a world unto itself, and I really, really enjoyed some of the things I found in this world.

TQ:  What do you know now about writing that you wish you'd known when The Emperor's Blades came out?

Brian:  I wish I’d known just how far The Providence of Fire would deviate from my initial plans for it. Actually, wait. No. I don’t wish that. If I’d known that, I would have thrown up my hands, quit writing, and gone to live in a cave.

TQ:  What sorts of research have you done for The Providence of Fire and what is the oddest thing you've found?

Brian:  I learned:

The number of human heartbeats in a day. The history and layout of Anasazi cliff dwellings. An albatross’s maximum flight time. The conflicting biographies of Sun Tzu. How to night-fish with fire and cormorants. All manner of facts about the Pony Express. When it comes to world-building, you just can’t beat the real world.

TQ:  Which character has surprised you the most in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne? Which character has been the most difficult to write and why?

Brian:  Gwenna has emerged as a real surprise; I always knew she was tough as nails, but I didn’t understand quite how adaptable she was. I had no idea how readily she’d be able to handle new and surprising tasks and relationships. There are some people that you only get to know when you’ve really put them through the wringer.

As for the most difficult character, that would have to be Kaden. As he grows more skilled with his monastic training, he becomes less emotional. Of course, emotion is the most crucial ingredient to drama (imagine a scene in which none of the characters cared about anything), and so finding the drama in Kaden’s adventures was a nuanced and interesting challenge.

This wasn’t part of the question, but I’ll throw it in anyway: Pyrre was my favorite character to write. I hope you’ll enjoy her!

TQ:  Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Providence of Fire.

Brian:  “In this world,” Adare said quietly, “there is no fire without fuel. No flame without ash.”

TQ:  What's next?

Brian:  I just printed out the manuscript of the third book at Staples today. Turns out, the books are getting longer, and this one is too big to fit into even their largest binding, so I had to split it in two. I’ll spend a few months revising that book, and then it’s on to uncharted territory. I’d like to write a couple of stand-alone novels in the world of the Unhewn Throne, maybe following one or more of the secondary characters who have become fan favorites.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Brian:  Thanks for having me!

The Providence of Fire
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 2
Tor Books, January 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 608 pages

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace is search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire's most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it

The Emperor's Blades
Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 1
Tor Books, January 14, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages
Trade Paperback, August 26, 2014

In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

(Trade Paperback)

Read Trinitytwo's review here.

About Brian

BRIAN STAVELEY is a teacher and writer. He has taught literature, religion, history, and philosophy, all subjects that influence his writing, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. He works as an editor for Antilever Press, and has published poetry and essays, both in print and on-line. He lives in Vermont with his wife and young son, and divides his time between running trails, splitting wood, writing, and baby-wrangling.

Website  ~  Twitter @BrianStaveley  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a hardcover copy of The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley from Tor Books. US/CANADA ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on January 24, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I've not read The Emperor's Blades yet but it has been firmly on my TBR list for some time now.

  2. this is the first I've come across this author and series! Thanks for the great spotlight. Definitely going to be adding to my wantlist :)